Rutgers topples Coppin State 64-39, remain undefeated

Four games into the 2017-2018 season and the Rutgers basketball team is 4-0 after another convincing win — this time over Coppin State. 

The Scarlet Knights (4-0) beat the Eagles (0-5) 64-39 Sunday afternoon at the Rutgers Athletic Center and have yet to lose a game at home this season.

“We just want to keep it rolling,” said sophomore forward Eugene Omoruyi. “They’re a good team, they played a good game today, we just executed better as a team.”

The Knights dominated in almost every statistic in the blowout win, as Rutgers led Coppin State in field goal percentage, points in the paint, second chance points and bench points, with Omoruyi leading the pack with a game-high 19 points.

The Ontario native chalks up this year’s success to one thing — confidence.

“Just keeping (my confidence) up and just coming to every game focused and on a mission just to do what I can do to make our team win,” Omoruyi said. “It can be anything, it can be defense wise, it can be rebounds, it can be take charges, so that’s what I try to do every night.”

What’s perhaps even more impressive, though, is that the Knights did all of this virtually foul-free, limiting the Eagles to just one free throw.

But if the Knights want to be successful this year, they will need to improve on their own free throws — a weak spot last season that has spilled over into this season.

Rutgers did a good job of getting to the free throw line but could not convert, sinking just 14 out of 28 from the charity stripe. Foul shots were an issue that plagued the team all of last season and through four games it appears that will not be any different.

Rutgers is shooting 60.6 percent from the line, which puts Rutgers at 316th nationally out of 351 Division I teams.

Still, the Knights stymied the Eagle offense and held them to just 39 points, up just one point from the 70-38 shellacking over Cleveland State five days earlier. It was the third game out of four this season in which Rutgers has held its opponent to under 40 points, something the Knights only did one time last season.

Rutges is back in action when it continues its seven-game homestand and facse Bryant on Tuesday night. 

For now, the Knights are doing what they should be doing — taking advantage of their early soft schedule and beating the lesser teams as they should, even if isn't always pretty.

“It’s not a tape that I’m going to send off to the basketball hall of fame, but we grinded out a win," said head coach Steve Pikiell. "... We didn't make any shots today, it was one of those nights. But we still figured out a way to win the basketball game."

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